Parental decisions, child health and valuation of avoiding arsenic in drinking water in rural Bangladesh

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh is a widespread public health hazard. Water sources without high arsenic levels are scarce, affecting people's availability for work and other activities when they have to seek safe water to drink. While children are particularly susceptible to chronic arsenic exposure, limited information and heavy constraints on resources may preclude people in developing countries from taking protective actions. Since parents are primary decision-makers for children, a model of stochastic decision-making analytically linking parent health and child health is used to frame the valuation of avoiding arsenic exposure using an averting behavior model. The results show that safe drinking water programs do work and that people do take protective actions. The results can help guide public health mitigation policies, and examine whether factors such as child health and time required for remediation have an effect on mitigation measures.

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